DASH diet - An effective way to manage hypertension
Clinical Nutrition • • 1 minute to read • By Dr Poonam Vichare, INFS Faculty
Author– Dr Poonam Vichare
DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The DASH diet is a healthy-eating plan designed to help treat or prevent high blood pressure.
The DASH eating plan is rich in fruits, vegetables, fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, seeds, and nuts. It also contains less sodium; sweets, added sugars, and beverages containing sugar; fats; and red meats. This heart-healthy way of eating is also lower in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol and rich in nutrients that are associated with lowering blood pressure—mainly potassium, magnesium, calcium, protein, and fiber.
Components of the DASH diet
- DASH stands for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.”
- One can reduce your blood pressure by eating foods that are low in saturated fat, total fat, and cholesterol, and high in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods.
- The DASH eating plan includes whole grains, poultry, fish, and nuts, and has low amounts of fats, red meats, sweets, and sugared beverages.
- It is also high in potassium, calcium, and magnesium, as well as protein and fiber.
- Eating foods lower in salt and sodium also can reduce blood pressure.
Research has shown that people on the DASH diet lowered their blood pressure within 2 weeks.
Another variant diet – The DASH-Sodium, emphasizes on cutting back sodium to 1,500 milligrams a day. The DASH-Sodium plan has also lowered the blood pressure in hypertensive individuals.
Tips on Switching to the DASH Eating Plan
- Changing gradually.
- Adding a vegetable or fruit serving at lunch and dinner.
- Use of only half the butter or margarine from the current intake.
- If one has trouble digesting dairy products buy lactose-free milk or milk with lactase enzyme added to it.
- Getting added nutrients such as the B vitamins by choosing whole grain foods, including whole wheat bread or whole grain cereals.
- Having two servings of fruits and/or vegetables at each meal, or adding fruits as snacks.
- Treating meat as one part of the meal, instead of the focus. Having two or more meatless meals a week.
- Use fruits or low-fat foods as desserts and snacks.
D etailed DASH diet for a 2,000 calorie diet:
|Food Group||Daily Servings||Serving Size|
|Grains1||6–8||1 Slice bread1 oz dry cereal2½ cup cooked rice, pasta, or cereal|
|Vegetables||4–5||1 cup raw leafy vegetable½ cup cut-up raw or cooked vegetable½ cup vegetable juice|
|Fruits||4–5||1 medium fruit¼ cup dried fruit½ cup fresh, frozen, or canned fruit½ cup fruit juice|
|Fat–free or low–fat milk and milk products||2–3||1 oz milk or yogurt1 ½ oz cheese|
|Lean meats, poultry, and fish||6 or less||1 oz cooked meats, poultry, or fish1 egg|
|Nuts, seeds, and legumes||4–5 per week||1/3 cup or 1 ½ oz nuts2 Tbsp peanut butter2 Tbsp or ½ oz seeds½ cup cooked legumes (dry beans and peas)|
|Fats and oils||2–3||1 tsp soft margarine1 tsp vegetable oil1 Tbsp mayonnaise2 Tbsp salad dressing|
|Sweets and added sugars||5 or less per week||1 Tbsp sugar1 Tbsp jelly or jam½ cup sorbet, gelatin1 cup lemonade|
Combining the DASH eating plan with a regular physical activity program, such as walking or swimming, will help in both shedding pounds and maintaining weight for a long term. At Least 30 minutes activity at a time is recommended, or accumulated exercise periods of at least 10 minutes each. A total of 30 minutes of activity each day is a must. Physical activity when combined with a DASH diet provides optimal regulation of Blood pressure.
- Sacks, F. M. et al. (2001) ‘Effects on Blood Pressure of Reduced Dietary Sodium and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Diet’, New England Journal of Medicine. Massachusetts Medical Society, 344(1), pp. 3–10. doi: 10.1056/nejm200101043440101.
- The DASH Diet | National Kidney Foundation (no date). Available at: https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/Dash_Diet (Accessed: 18 February 2022).
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